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A is for Asparagus: Roasted Springtime Asparagus

Nothing says spring, commitment, and patience like asparagus. Unlike nearly all other vegetables that are annual, (you plant them, they grow through the season until harvest, they die, then you replant the following year) asparagus is a perennial bulb. You plant the bulb once and it can grow for up to twenty years. That's commitment! When you do plant it, it can take 2-3 years before you ever get a sprig to eat. That takes patience, and like most things that require patience, it's worth it.

The best time to plant asparagus bulbs is in the spring. Asparagus does well in cooler climates and can be grown in most parts of the United States. Ask your local nursery for bulbs and growing tips.

This recipe for Roasted Asparagus comes from Portland Public Schools Nutrition Services. They serve this as part of their featured Harvest of the Month local foods promotion. It's always a big hit. The first time they served roasted asparagus, kids went home and actually asked their parents to make it. Parents called the school and asked for the recipe.

Fresh asparagus tastes great when sautéed and grilled. Have you tried roasting asparagus? It is easy and results in a tender-crisp spear that works great as a side dish or a finger-food snack. This recipe is so incredibly simple. Have your kids make it, and they will be even more likely to try it.

Roasted Springtime Asparagus

Serves 6

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Wash the asparagus and trim the tough, woody ends off by 1-2 inches from the bottom of the stem. Place in a large bowl. Add the oil, salt and pepper to the asparagus. Toss to coat the asparagus spears.

Place asparagus on a sheet pan and roast in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, or until the asparagus spears are lightly browned and blistered.

Remove asparagus from the oven and sprinkle with fresh lemon zest. Gently toss the roasted asparagus spears with the lemon zest until the zest is evenly distributed. Serve warm.

Nutrients per serving:

35 calories, 2.3 g total fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 3 g total carbohydrates, 1.6 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 1.7 g protein.

Estimated cost per serving: $0.60


Recipe adapted by Garrett Berdan from Portland Public Schools Nutrition Service

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